A youth basketball coach arriving home after a game was brutally shot down in front of his house as his 13-year-old son sat just feet away.
Claudell Walter was murdered late June 1 as he exited his truck in the Southern California city of Menifee. His son, who is not being named, was sitting nearby but wasn’t injured, reported TV station KABC.
Walter was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Now, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is probing his murder.
“He was a big, gentle giant, nonconfrontational,” said Walter’s brother-in-law DaShaun Thomas. “He was just about his kids, his family and helping people achieve their goals.”
Walter, 38, along with Thomas, co-founded DTermined Athletics, which helps young athletes.
A June 3 Facebook post from DTermined Basketball read: “This is a very hard pill to swallow. It’s so sad (that) something so cruel can happen to such a great person.”
Neighbors were stunned by the killing
Investigators have yet to release a physical description of the killer or possible motive, reported TV station KTLA.
Neighbors, asking not to be identified, were stunned by the killing. They claimed the married dad was often playing basketball in the driveway with his kids.
“What I would want to say to the killer is I don’t know what his motives were, but he damaged a generation of kids, as well,” said Thomas. “Not just Claudell’s kids – but hundreds, thousands of kids.”
Thomas said Walter spent his final day coaching his hoops squad before returning home shortly before 10 p.m. That’s when he was shot in cold blood.
He added: “I don’t even think as a family that we’ve had a chance to grieve as we would, like because there is so much energy as to why. Why would this happen to him?”